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Musical McCool Season 3, Week 4 (Martin's Sofa, F64, people pleaser and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!

So after a week as busy as the last one, I was a bit curious what the fall-out would be, especially with The Murder Capital's excellent new album debuting at number 1... and nothing happened. Not a single song off Gigi's Recovery even charted, and we actually got little to no new songs or big movers at all. Hell, Måneskin's album didn't even debut in the Top 10, let alone touch the Singles chart!

The Top 10

Instead, things seem to be settling more and more into the current status quo:

1. Flowers - Miley Cyrus [LW: 1 / WOC: 2]

2. Escapism. - RAYE (Ft. 070 Shake) [LW: #2 / WOC: 10]

3. Kill Bill - SZA [LW: #3 / WOC: 7]

4. Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift [LW: #4 / WOC: 14]

5. Calm Down (Remix) - Rema (Ft. Selena Gomez) [LW: #7 / WOC: 22]

6. Made You Look - Meghan Trainor [LW: #5 / WOC: 14]

7. Miss You - Oliver Tree & Robin Schulz [LW: #6 / WOC: 16]

8. Creepin' - Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage [LW: #8 / WOC: 8]

9. Sure Thing - Miguel [LW: #13 / WOC: 4]

10. I'll Be Waiting - Cian Ducrot [LW: #11 / WOC: 11]

A lot of the Top 10 appears to be pretty settled under Miley's reign. Personally, I'm not sure how long she's going to maintain that position, but I also don't know what could immediately challenge her, nothing else has a huge amount of momentum.

It is worth noting that the worst song in the Top 10 right now, Calm Down, actually just remained consistent, while the songs that ceded their places to it are likely on their way out. And hey, while I may not like I'll Be Waiting by Cian Ducrot, it's the lesser of his 2 evil singles. The only new arrival to the Top 10 is Sure Thing by Miguel, a song that I do like, I'm glad it's here.

The Punished and the New

With it being such a quiet week for our new arrivals, you might be thinking the charts were pretty calm overall... and you'd be quite right, as we only got one ACR victim today:

Shut up My Moms Calling by Hotel Ugly - #30 -> #43

For the record, I have no issue with this getting caught between years, it really sucks. But since that was a bit short, I guess I'll highlight some surprising gains. Not only did Sabrina Carpenter's utterly ridiculous song Nonsense SOMEHOW gain big to number 20(?!), but We Caa Done by Popcaan & Drake went up to 60... no.

And now, in keeping with our slower theme, let's cover our 4 new arrivals!

Title: Martin's Sofa by Headie One

Position: #17

For those not in the know, Headie One is a London-born drill rapper who made it HUGE back in 2020, with multiple Top 10 singles and a smash number 3 album here in Ireland - number 1 in his home country of the UK - and has since made his career on features and a couple of mixtapes. Now, I don't follow the guy on social media, but apparently he's been dropping teasers about this new song since the beginning of 2023, allowing him to build a lot of hype, resulting in a strong opening sales week. That's good promotion, I like it!

And the song is actually kind of interesting too. A watery melancholic sample, sporadic high hats and liquid bass, where he reminisces on his multiple failings on the path to success. The metaphor he uses is linked to his real life experience of sleeping on his friend Martin's couch when times were hard. And he prays that he'll never get to that point again, by cultivating his newfound success. I'm kind of impressed by how genuinely depressing so much of the imagery is here, as Headie One doesn't shy away from how much of a loser he really was, getting kicked out of jobs, striking out with girls, and being told what a disappointment he was by his father.

My only issue is the delivery. None of the details here are allowed to simmer and just be, they go by so fast that you barely notice them if you're not reading along with the lyrics. There's also little to no modulation in his voice between the verses and the hook, meaning the song can kind of drag in spots, especially as Headie One can sometimes repeat himself. But look, that's me nitpicking on what is ultimately a really detailed and honest song. And while the execution is mixed, there are enough details and good production that I'm inclined to praise this; good job.

Title: F64 by Ed Sheeran

Position: #64

Whereas this is kind of the opposite case... For context, SBTV is an online platform active since 2006, showcasing hip-hop & R&B to the masses. It's actually had a hand in launching the careers of many big names, including Wiley, Jessie J, Stormzy and yes, Ed Sheeran. In fact many other publications have credited it for discovering Ed and giving him that first spark to set his unbelievable run ablaze. So when founder Jamal Edwards died of a heart attack last year after sniffing cocaine, you can imagine that many, including Ed, would have something to say to their lost friend.

Now, Ed and Jamal's connection was apparently pretty real; he directed multiple of Ed's recent videos with artists such as Fireboy DML and Central Cee, and Ed even stayed with his family for a while after he died. So after some mentions in interviews here and there, Ed finally created a full tribute song to him on the platform that started it all. And it's not doing amazing numbers... in fact it seems almost poetic that a song called F64 should debut at exactly number 64! But I do understand why; Ed's using a flow and slang that are a lot closer to his more amateurish beginnings, and the song is filled with details that are so personal that they're not even relatable to most people. It's clearly supposed to be a song for a specific friend and their family, with a tasteful piano, a single drumbeat and bass. It's just 64 bars of venting, pretty pure grief, where Ed describes therapy, his own guilt for not recognising his friend's drug problem, the pain that Jamal will never meet his girls, and random, almost rambling details about grabbing chicken and plantain to commemorate him. It's the furthest thing from composed and he frequently works multiple angry swear words into the bars here. My one issue is that I don't think this needed a hook, that's the only part that felt a little bit forced, even if I don't think he's fishing for a hit or anything with it.

No surprise though, I do like this more that Martin's Sofa. The details are just as rambling, but the delivery engages me a lot more, making even the mundane details sting. Ed's written his fair share of songs about grief, and while the universality of his best songs means they will make me tear up and react more, this still struck me for how real it felt. Not a song I see myself going back to much after this, I don't think this was ever designed to stick around, but I get why Ed needed to make this. And I respect the Hell out if it. Rest in peace, Jamal.

Title: Lay Low by Tiësto

Position: #92

I think it's pretty telling that this is only charting now, and this low at that. Ironic considering the title, I know!

Look, Tiësto is remarkably hit-or-miss for me, and I find the songs I often enjoy are the ones everyone else hates. I like The Motto, I kinda hate The Business... though you can chalk that one up to overplay. Either way, this is his latest single for that upcoming album... and boy, this is a single?

Don't get me wrong, it's not awful, it's just remarkably forgettable. None of the vocalists are credited, but unlike The Business which at least had a memorable hook, this just doesn't stick out at all! The female choir sounds checked out and lathered in reverb, the house beat feels like it's missing a core melody, and even the vocals on the verses are slathered in so many effects that they sound like they're constantly stifling a yawn.

Add on interchangeable lyrics about getting high and voices calling out your name - I think, I stopped paying attention - with a really weak hook, and you have a song that kind of fails at being anything. Please take this one back into the studio and finish it, then have it back on my desk along with a 12-page essay on why you didn't apply yourself!

Title: people pleaser by Cat Burns

Position: #95

I'm starting to see a pattern with Cat Burns. Very often, she makes songs that are very relatable, sings them the way they're supposed to be sung, slaps on pretty cheap production with some stock backing vocals, and then refuses to leave an impression on me.

It's going to sound mean, but I think Cat burns might not have enough presence to be a full-on pop star. She reminds me of a kindergarten teacher who got so used to singing educational songs to the kids that when she got broken up with by her shitty ex-boyfriend, she wrote a song dissing him where she swore, accidentally leaked it so it got passed around the school, and that's how I think Go became a hit! That's my theory and I'm sticking with it, because everything she makes just sounds too damn polished and cookie-cutter.

For context, this song is about being a people pleaser, and as always, I think the writing's pretty damn great. There's lines about avoiding conflict, feeling like you can't honestly communicate for fear you'll drive away people, wanting to fix problems when all you need to do is listen, this is GOLD to someone like me, textbook people pleaser right here! And yet, whether due to the delivery being too chipper, or the cheap guitar slaps being too goofy, I appreciate the lyrics in isolation, and then forget it even happened once the song ends.

For the record, I think Cat Burns could KILL as a behind-the-scenes songwriter, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that! Ed Sheeran's made plenty of hit songs he didn't perform, and Lori McKenna - one of the most prolific songwriters in Nashville - is one of my favourite artists of all time! So my suggestion would be to try cutting her teeth at that; because whether it's her presence, her voice, or just her production team, this isn't working for me... much as I want to make it do so.

So that was kind of a short week, but hey, that just gives me more time to dedicate to each song here. Well, except for our Worst of the week, because I found very little to say about Lay Low by Tiësto. Cheer up though, 10:35 is class! As for the Best, while nothing here could measure up to some of our recent weeks, I'm going to give it to F64 by Ed Sheeran. It's not his best by any stretch, but of the songs that attempted to make me feel something this week, his was the best effort.

National Treasures

On the other hand, the Homegrown charts are remaining quite busy, as we saw a number of shifts and expected new arrivals.

1. I'll Be Waiting - Cian Ducrot [LW: #1 / WOC: 11]

2. One Life - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #2 / WOC: 8]

3. Get On My Love - Picture This [LW: #4 / WOC: 9]

4. Superstar - Belters Only & Mickey Modelle (Ft. Simone Denny) [LW: #3 / WOC: 10]

5. Time To Leave - Darren Kiely [LW: - / WOC: 2]

6. Perfect - Moncrieff [LW: - / WOC: 2]

7. Mayday - CMAT [LW: - / WOC: 2]

8. Return My Head - The Murder Capital [LW: #19 / WOC: 3]

9. Homesick - Nell Mescal [LW: - / WOC: 1]

10. In the Dark - Biig Piig [LW: - / WOC: 1]

Yes, Time To Leave by Darren Kiely did dip a little - kind of a shame, it's excellent - but it's still in the Top 10. Plus, Return My Head surged to a new peak at number 8 in the wake of the album dropping, that's only a good thing! And we have 2 new arrivals debuting just under there, MAN I have a lot of material to get through for National Treasures!

As a reminder, if you want to hear my thoughts on these songs, follow me on Instagram. And if you want a sneak peak at the new songs before I review them:

Title: Homesick by Nell Mescal

Position: #9

Title: In The Dark by Biig Piig

Position: #10

Title: My Very Best by The Academic

Position: #15

Once again, for my thoughts on all of these and more, simply head over to my Instagram @thesocialtune, where I will be reviewing EVERY SONG that hits the Homegrown Top 20 over the course of 2023. The videos there have been going over really well and if I run out of songs to review, I'm going to start highlighting other Irish songs that were recently released and might not have even hit the homegrown chart.

As ever, please let me know in the Comments what you thought of the songs covered this week, and leave a Like if you enjoyed! Make sure to follow me everywhere so you don't miss a thing, and subscribe to the blog to keep up with my weekly chart reflections. Stay safe and happy everyone and until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off.

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